Everything you need to know about WIDU!


What is WIDU?

Together with the African diaspora in Europe, the online platform WIDU.africa provides funding and coaching to small businesses in participating African countries.

How does WIDU work?

The list below shows the relevant steps that the donor and entrepreneur have to take.

1. Donor

• Invites entrepreneur.

• Fill in Project Information and Submit Project Proposal.

• WIDU checks project and after approval, sends a professional business coach.

• Donor transfers money and documents it on the platform.

• Application for Grant.

• A coach verifies the receipts and you can start a new project.

2. Entrepreneur

• Accepts invitation.

• Fill in Project Information and Submit Project Proposal.

• WIDU checks project and after approval, sends a professional business coach.

• Entrepreneur uses donor’s contribution and own funds to invest in the business and uploads receipts on the platform.

• Application for Grant.

• Receives the funding and invests it to expand or stabilize the business.

• A coach verifies the receipts and you can start a new project.

The entire process is explained in the explainer video.

Am I eligible to take part?

1. Donor

• At least 18 years old.

• Have a valid passport of one of our participating African countries together with a residence permit for one of the participating European countries or hold citizenship of one of the participating European countries.

2. Entrepreneur

• At least 18 years old.

• Reside in one of the participating African countries.

• Hold citizenship for one of the participating African countries.

• Would like to start or expand a small business with less than 20 employees.

• Have access to a bank or mobile money account to receive the grant.

Please note that additional criteria apply depending on which grant you apply for.

How do I register?

The registration process for WIDU is as follows:

• A member of the diaspora from a participating European country registers on https://widu.africa/

• A registration link will be sent to the donor’s e-mail with which he/she can create an account.

• Having created the account, the donor can invite an entrepreneur in a participating country by entering his/her email address.

• The entrepreneur receives an email with a link. Clicking on it, he/she can register on WIDU.

• Your WIDU team is complete, and you can enter your project information.

Please check out our explanatory video.

I am in Africa and would like to apply for funding, but I don’t know anyone in a participating European country: can WIDU find a donor for me?

Unfortunately, no. The concept of WIDU requires support from a member of the diaspora. WIDU does not match donors and entrepreneurs.

I am stuck in the WIDU process. Where can I get more information?

Please find detailed information on the WIDU process here.

Also, check out our explainer videos on youtube for further insight.

How much do I have to pay for WIDU?

WIDU is free of charge. Neither WIDU nor our partners will charge a fee or demand compensation. The coaching you receive is also free. No one should ask you for money to access WIDU.

If someone asks you for money, immediately inform us. We will investigate the matter and take legal action.

I registered on WIDU.africa but I did not receive an invitation e-mail. What should I do?

Please check your spam/ junk folder. Occasionally, e-mail accounts wrongly identify the invitation e-mail as spam. Some e-mail accounts have an additional spam folder. Please make sure to check this folder as well. Also, make sure that you have entered the correct e-mail address.

If you checked all of the above unsuccessfully, please sent an e-mail to diaspora@widu.africa mentioning from what e-mail address at what date and time the donor has sent the invitation e-mail.

I am an entrepreneur and mistakenly registered as a donor from Europe. What do I do?

Please write an e-mail to diaspora@widu.africa and we will delete your account. Afterwards, the donor can register and send the invitation link to your e-mail.

I forgot my password. What do I do?

Please visit WIDU.africa and click on “Reset your password”. Enter your e-mail in the new window and you will receive instructions via e-mail. Please check your e-mail and click on the reset link in the e-mail.

You will be forwarded to a page where you can select a new, secure password (use at least 12 characters including uppercase letters, numbers and punctuation). Please memorize the password or write it down and keep it in a safe place.

Please click on our explanatory video.

I forgot my password and do not have control over my email account. What should I do?

In the case that you have lost control over your WIDU.africa account (i.e. you cannot reset your password because you can no longer access your email account) please inform us under diaspora@widu.africa as quickly as possible.

We will then assist you in deleting your account.

When do I transfer my funds as a donor?

Please transfer your funds after the project proposal has been approved and the entrepreneur has received the first coaching.

During the first coaching, the entrepreneur receives very important information for the WIDU process. To assure that the process goes as smoothly as possible, wait until the coach has briefed the entrepreneur before you transfer your fund.

Please note: Money transfers sent prior to the WIDU process are not accepted by WIDU.

How shall I transfer the money for the entrepreneur?

WIDU requires an official proof of money transfer from the donor, thus, the money needs to be sent via official channels. We recommend visiting the website Geldtransfair for reference which is a good tool to search and compare options to transfer money internationally.

What is the exchange rate in WIDU?

Please note that WIDU.africa is using a fixed exchange rate. The current exchange rate can be found next to investment plan, when filling out the application.

WIDU adapts the exchange rate regularly, using the exchange rate published by the European Commission.

Who operates WIDU?

The WIDU Platform is an initiative of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), implemented by the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

Who does WIDU work with?

WIDU is working with selected diaspora organizations in participating European countries and coaching organizations in the African countries.

Please visit our network page for further information.

Is WIDU available in my country?

In Europe, WIDU is available for you in German, Austria, France and Switzerland.

In Africa, WIDU is available for you in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya and Togo.

For what grant is my project eligible for?

Your business is eligible if you

• are older than 18 years,

• are a citizen of one of the participating countries,

• reside in one of the participating countries, and

• your business has less than 20 employees.

Additional criteria depend on which grant you apply for:

Original WIDU Grant

• New or existing businesses

• Own Investment prior to Grant Disbursement

Corona Business Grant

• Only existing business (more than a year)

• No own investment required

• Innovative approach that contributes to the response to the COVID pandemic

How much is the grant?

The grant depends on your individual project and which process you apply for:

Original WIDU Grant

• 250 to 2.500 € (depending on Joint Investment)

Corona Business Grant

• Up to 2500 €

How many projects can I have?

It depends on your role and the grant that you are applying for. Please find a table below.

1. Original WIDU Grant

Donor: 3 projects simultaneously

Entrepreneur: 1 project simultaneously (3 consecutive times)

2. Corona Business Grant

Donor: One project (once)

Entrepreneur: One project (once)

Under what circumstances can WIDU reject a project?

Typically, projects are rejected due to a failure to comply with the WIDU regulations, criteria and values. We also reject projects where there is reasonable cause to believe that there is intention to deceive in any way.

WIDU reserves the right to reject projects without providing full explanations if data protection or other issues prevent us from doing so. Once a project has been rejected, there is no mechanism for appeal.

You can find out more about our eligibility criteria in our terms.

What happens if I don’t follow the WIDU regulations, criteria and values?

Please note that with accepting the contract, you have legally obliged yourself to follow the WIDU regulations, criteria and values. In case of a violation of the obligations, WIDU.africa may take legal action.

You can find details about our policies by clicking on the links below:


Definitions: Who distinguishes as a Diaspora Donor and as the Entrepreneur?

WIDU defines the Diaspora Donor as the following:  
A person located in the participating European country who is willing to sponsor and invest in a project in the participating African county. He/she must have a connection or relations to the entrepreneur in the African country (family member, friend, business partner, etc.)   WIDU defines the Entrepreneur as the following:  
A person located in a participating African country who is wants to begin a new business or already has an existing business. He/she should be willing to be sponsored by the diaspora donor and willing to invest as well. He/she must have a connection to the diaspora donor (family member, friend, business partner, etc.).

How long will I need to complete one project in the WIDU process?

Each application is different, and the processing of each project depends on both the user and the WIDU team.  
Generally speaking, we estimate an average of 6 months from registering on the WIDU platform to successfully completing the project.

How do I complete the verification of my identity?

After filling in your profile, you can start the verification process. First, you will be redirected to the website of our online verification service on which you will be guided through the verification process.   To complete the process successfully, you will need the following:  Valid Passport or Identity card  Document to verify your address (e.g. residence permit, recent utility bill, paycheck, etc.)   Stable internet connection   Device with a working camera  Good background lighting

What is the accompanying study on the effectiveness of WIDU.africa?

Based on a quasi-experimental evaluation design, some WIDU entrepreneurs will be randomly selected for interviews. The aim of these interviews is to further develop the WIDU program and improve our support for small entrepreneurs in Africa. For this reason, we are planning to conduct three (3) interviews with entrepreneurs in Ghana and Cameroon.

How do I know if my company is part of the study?

We would like to conduct three interviews with you at three different times during and after the WIDU grant:

• before the 1st coaching session,

• after the 2nd coaching session,

• and 6 months after receiving the WIDU grant.

What questions will be asked during the interviews?

Amongst other things, we would like to understand in more detail what motivates you, what challenges you face, and what your impression of WIDU is. Our questions will focus exclusively on your organisation and your experience with WIDU.africa.

Does my participation have any consequences for the payment of the grant?

The participation has no consequences for the approval of the WIDU grant. The only purpose of the survey is to gain a better understanding of the project.

Who has access to my answers?

Your answers will be completely anonymized, so that no connection to your person is possible.

Do I get a reward for participating?

As a thank you, participants will receive a phone credit worth 2 Euros for each questionnaire completed.

Is participation mandatory?

Participation in the study is voluntary and not linked to the application process for a WIDU grant. However, your participation helps us to further improve WIDU and to better support entrepreneurs in our partner countries in the future. Therefore, your opinion is essential to us. If you have any questions, please contact us at diaspora@widu.africa

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